Saturday March 26th 2011, 9:32 pm
Filed under: My Garden,Wildlife

Remember this post? Our flowering pear has a nest in it for the first time this year. I guess it’s gotten tall enough and full enough. It’s in direct line of sight of the hawk’s, above and across the yard, brave thing–maybe best to keep an eye out. But it’s there, with new life coming to be inside that little leafy home next to ours.

The hawk usually does a low swoop, but today I saw it zoom over towards the redwood from high enough up that I almost missed it.

Last year, though I didn’t say it here because I was asked not to while I was doing it, I was helping man the remotely-controlled cameras trained on the peregrine falcon nest at City Hall in San Jose, a once in a lifetime experience. I was really dedicated to doing the job well.  Eyes glued to the screen, ready to grab and switch from camera to camera and I got really good at anticipating where they would fly next and capturing the scene for all the classrooms and birdwatchers to see. Those baby peregrines have character and they are adorable.

And there was drama: the eyas that died. The father peregrine bowing his head at his son’s body weeks later, standing still for minutes–and then to my surprise trying to push him under the gravel with the top of his head as if to give him a proper burial. Not with his sharp feet or beak but with his soft feathers.

Who knew a bird could behave so?

Neither of the parents ever stepped on his body at the corner of the nestbox. It was sacred ground.

I went to go see them in person and a fledgling hung over the edge of the ledge above as if waving a wing and grinning at the adoring paparazzi below.

But the cams took over my life, six hours some days of my hand hovered over the mouse, ready to click just so, and it left me unable to do more than the most meager amount of knitting. So many computer-induced icepacks. So many things I wanted to do with my life that got put aside. We upgraded our bandwidth to accommodate the streaming.

They asked me last week if I were going to sign in and get started again? They hadn’t heard from me…

I was quite sick, and the effort of pitching in was absolutely undoable just then. That sealed it. They’d had no way to know how much I had given up to be a part of that, incredible an experience though it was. I mentioned that the computer that had had all the sign-in information had died the death and been replaced, in case that made them feel better, because it was with great regret and a tremendous sense of freedom that I told them no–no, I didn’t think so. I did hedge and offer to do emergency backup, but that’s not what they wanted. And that was that.

This year (thank you Dad and Richard!) I have my Sibley guides. I have my birdsongs (thank you to our son Richard and Kim!) I’m learning about my own birds right here, learning their personalities and quirks, being befriended by the wrens and awed almost daily by those Cooper’s hawks. Paying attention.

How many times did I not see them because I couldn’t look up from the screen last year?

I was given a great privilege that I’m very grateful to have had, and now I have fledged and discovered my own home.

11 Comments so far
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As you said…”once in a lifetime”. Glad you did it when you could! Now, enjoy the whole of spring and all it’s varied wildlife.

Comment by Ruth 03.26.11 @ 11:08 pm

Wow, that was quite an experience, and you must have done a brilliant job to be asked again.

Hard decision to make this year, but you get your own backyard birds back, and somebody else will get a chance manning the cameras, for the experience of a lifetime. Spread the happiness 🙂

Comment by tinebeest 03.27.11 @ 6:00 am

You have found your niche. Now, you just have to live it.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 03.27.11 @ 6:15 am

No coincidences. Enjoy your personal nature show!

Comment by Channon 03.27.11 @ 6:20 am

There is a time to everything. This year is your Cooper’s, your yard’s, and, of course, your Parker’s time.

Comment by twinsetellen 03.27.11 @ 6:22 am

to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose

while I will miss the posts about the peregrins,I’m looking forward to hearing more about the hawks!

Comment by Bev 03.27.11 @ 8:24 am

Better once than none. You must be feeling better (weller?)

I was commenting to Cliff when it was pouring down rain about all the trees with white blossoms. Quite a beautiful sight.

Comment by Don Meyer 03.27.11 @ 10:10 am

I work on a web site three hours a day. Three hours may not sound like much. But it does mean that one tries to be alert, feeling well, and on time – adhering to a schedule one’s body might not much care for. It’s wonderful you have your own birds to watch for.

Comment by RobinM 03.27.11 @ 1:52 pm

It was a wonderful experience, and perhaps worth the sacrifice for that time, but I think I would have made the same decision (and indeed, almost a decade ago gave up theater for a similar reason).
Do I miss it? Some days, but mostly I get a lot more things done I also love to do.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 03.27.11 @ 2:38 pm

Here’s an idea for your time this year–the ParkerCam.

Comment by LauraN 03.27.11 @ 7:17 pm

You had a wonderful experience and will again in your own back yard. Sounds like so much fun! I envy you.

Comment by Joansie 03.28.11 @ 11:59 am

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